SAN DIEGO — A Yadkinville native was named 2015 Shore Sailor of the Year, during a ceremony held at the Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) headquarters building in San Diego, Feb. 11.
Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW/IDW) Brandon York, attached to C3F staff, was selected as C3F Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY).
During the ceremony another North Carolina native, Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) Belinda Hall from Spring Lake was named C3F Sea Sailor of the Year.
Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, said the greatest impact in 3rd Fleet is the talent of the men and women in uniform, and the Sailors of the Year represent the exceptional sailors of today.
“Our sailors are better trained, better educated, and better equipped than at any other time I’ve witnessed in my 30-year career,” said Tyson. “These leaders are the best-of-the-best. I’m glad it was difficult to select the Sailors of the Year, because it speaks volumes to the caliber of sailors from each command, and it gives me great confidence in the future of our Navy.”
York said he owes his selection to the efforts of those who have worked for him, with him, and above him throughout his career.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be here, and my family, by far, has been my rock. Without my wife and my son, I also wouldn’t be here,” said York.
“The Navy has been great to me. I’m very fortunate to be where I am,” said York. “I’ve done things I never expected in a million years that I would be able to do, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities the Navy has given me.”
Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Loran “Mark” Bather said the Sailor of the Year selection process is rigorous and included an in-depth performance review and a grueling board interview.
“Each nominee’s character, technical expertise, and leadership exemplify the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment,” said Bather. “It was really a tough choice, because every single one of them is already a winner.”
The other nominees for Shore Sailor of the Year were Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanic) 1st Class (SW/AW) Citrine White, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific and Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class (IDW/SW/AW) Ruebin Gabriel, Tactical Training Group, Pacific.
The other nominees for Sea Sailor of the Year were Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) Reina Velazquez, CCSG-3; Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW/SCW) Rory Baird, CCSG-9; Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) William Jamieson; CCSG-11; Information Specialist 1st Class (AW) Melinda McDaniel, CCSG-15; and Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Shaquita Calloway, Expeditionary Strike Group 3.
York and Hall will both advance to compete for Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year in March. The Pacific Fleet Sea SOY will be meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer, and the Pacific Fleet Shore SOY will compete at the Chief of Naval Operations level. The winner of that competition also will be meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer as well.